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TOP > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2006

Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2006

Calendar Introduction

NATURE AND LIFEPhotographer : Yasunobu Kobayashi

We live on Planet Earth. There is so much water on the earth that some call it the "Planet of Water." 97.5% of that water, however, is in the sea, and humans cannot drink this water directly. The remaining 2.5% of the water is on land, but the vast majority of that water is either in the form of ice or snow, or buried underground so that humans cannot access it. The amount of water that is actually flowing above ground and accessible to us is merely 0.25% of all the water that exists on Earth. Of the water that is accessible to us, there is little that is actually pure, and some say that it only amounts to 0.1% of all the water on this planet. Most of that pure, beautiful water comes from the forests. Therefore, Earth is more like a "Planet of Forests." Of course, forests are absolutely necessary for the oxygen that humans depend on. I hope that these photographs might now compel the viewer to consider the importance of forests in our daily lives.

January & February:
Costa Rica Monte Verde Natural Preserve

There is a place called Cloud Forest. A small country in Central America, Costa Rica is a pioneer in eco-tourism, and is actively promoting preservation of the environment as a national policy. The cloud- and mist-covered Monte Verde Cloud Forest Preserve possesses a mystical atmosphere, and has a rich ecosystem. There are many beautiful birds including hummingbirds, pictured on the left, and quetzals.

March & April:
Brazil The Amazon

Departing on a helicopter from Manaus, a city half-way up the Amazon river, we flew above the rainforests, which we could call the heart of all forests on Earth. It is truly a "sea of forests." I was overwhelmed by the vastness of this amazing sea. These forests continue to be destroyed, and are today half the size they once used to be. There were numerous insects here that became extinct before we ever saw them.

May & June New:
Zealand North Island Forests of Waipoua

In New Zealand, there is a tree that has the largest breadth in the southern hemisphere. It is a kauri tree. There once used to be a kauri that was the largest tree in the world, but it was cut down, and that title went to the giant sequoia. There still is, however, a tree called tane-mahuta ("god of trees and forests"), which gives off a sacred aura with a diameter of 5 meters (~17 feet) and is venerated by the Maori.

July & August:
Ecuador Esmeraldas Olmedo Mangrove

"Ecuador" is a Latin word signifying "equator." As the name suggests, the country of Ecuador is directly on the equator. From the rainforests to the rocky islands that remind you of the Galapagos, Ecuador has a variety of natural environments. In the state of Esmeraldas, there is a renowned mangrove forest with one mangrove tree that is the tallest of its kind.

September & October:
Cameroon Forests of Korup

The natural environment in Africa continues to be damaged, and desertification is spreading. There remain some virgin forests, however, in Korup, Cameroon, and we managed to enter one of these precious African virgin forests. There were plants that grew out of the land with no leaves and no stem, only flowers, and trees that bore fruits directly on their trunks.

November & December:
Canada Quebec Laurentians Maple Forests

The Canadian national flag bears a bright red maple leaf. Of all the national flags in the world, it is the only one that proudly features a leaf in the center as its main design element. It is proof of the strong affection that Canadian people have for the beautiful foliage of their maple trees. I was amazed by the brightness of the red foliage in the Laurentian mountains in Quebec.

Yasunobu Kobayashi
Born in 1963 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Graduated from Kyushu Zokei Art College, department of photography. Established his own studio in 1992 after studying under photographer Kazuyoshi Miyoshi. Known for his vigorous pursuit of unique nature, people and cultural scenes inside and outside Japan. Published Planet of Forests with industrial artist, craftsman and writer Tadashi Inamoto, documenting their visit to more than 20 forests in 16 countries. With Inamoto, led Planet of Forests Project fundraising drive to gather donations for five forests around the world. Photographs exhibited in NGO Global Village and other sites at Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan.
Tadashi Inamoto
Born in 1945 in Toyama Prefecture. Executive Director of Japan Environmental Education Forum. After working at Rikkyo University, founded Oak Village in 1974 as an arts and craft center in Kiyomi Village, Gifu Prefecture (currently Kiyomi Town, Takayama City). Produces a variety of woodcraft, from daily articles to architectural works, while drawing attention to the importance of the forest ecosystem as part of the global environment. Organized the Planet of Forests Project with photographer Yasunobu Kobayashi. Author of Journey through Forests, People of Forests and Form of Forests, Work of Forests (recipient of Mainichi Publication Culture Awards) and other books documenting his travels in forests around Japan and study of the roots of forestry culture.